Today I am motivated to tell you about, what I believe to be misleading advertising from review/reputation vendors. As of late, there has been a vendor advertising on Facebook leading you to believe three things:
1) You will receive ONLY 5 star reviews
2) Any Negative reviews will be BLOCKED.
3) This vendor can REMOVE negative reviews.
Misrepresentation to get your DOLLARS.
IF you only use a third-party vendor for your review management, yes, they can prevent some irate consumers from pushing out to Google, Yelp and Facebook. However, no vendor or Realtor can block consumers from leaving reviews directly in the review systems. You have to pro-actively take control of your review process.
Any vendor who is leading you to believe they can remove bad reviews as if they can just pick up the phone and call Yelp is full of crap. As reported in PC Magazine, "Yelp has filed a lawsuit against Revleap, a company that says it can help businesses improve their ratings, though Yelp says it actually spams them and cons them out of money." Yelp contends Revleap has no way of removing bad reviews or getting good ones to appear more prominently.
I am not in a position to offer a legal opinion on this case, but you can't GAME the review systems. Oh sure, you can try, but if caught, you are done.
There are official ways to flag illegitimate reviews as follows.
You have to be signed into your PERSONAL Yelp account. Not your business account. To the right of the review in question, you will see a little FLAG. Click on it. You will have specific reasons why you are flagging the review. When you flag a review, there will be an area you can submit your case in writing.
1) It contains false information. If the reviewer is making false accusations then respond in the flagging content box and be prepared to prove it. If it is serious and you know who left the review, you may have to bring legal action upon them.
2) It was posted by someone affiliated with the business. - You and your employees can't post reviews on your Yelp page.
3) It was posted by a competitor or ex-employee. - If you are under attack, you have a good chance of having the review removed.
4) It contains threats, lewdness or hate speech. - Self explanatory.
5) It does not describe a personal consumer experience. - If you get a bad review from somebody who has never done business with you, state that in the Flagging notes section.
6) It violates Yelp's privacy standards.
7) It contains promotional materials.
8) It's for the wrong business. - If you receive a review for your business that is tied to the brokerage you work for, a contractor that worked for you or another agent in your office, providing this is not your brokerage business account, you would use this.
To dispute Google reviews, follow this link.
For Facebook, here.
If your customer service is horrible and you get bad reviews, you will just have to suck it up and improve the consumer experience with your business. I call this "Going Nordstrom".
If you have illegitimate reviews, use the information above to flag or report these reviews.
If you want to spend $89 per month to have my company manage all of this for you, please contact me.